American forces overseas will by Jan. 15 be reduced to 2,500 in Afghanistan and 2,500 in Iraq, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said Tuesday.
Miller in making the announcement also honored the service members who have fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Their effort and sacrifice of American service members will go down in history," Miller said, speaking from the Pentagon. "We owe them and their loved ones an enormous debt of gratitude."
Miller, who was appointed to replace the recently fired Mark Esper, on Friday sent a memo to Defense Department employees regarding overseas wars.
"This is the critical phase in which we transition our efforts from a leadership to supporting role," Miller said in his memo. "We are not a people of perpetual war – it is the antithesis of everything for which we stand and for which our ancestors fought. All wars must end."
Currently, about 5,000 troops are in Afghanistan; more than 3,000 are in Iraq; and an estimated 1,000 are in Syria.